Monday, October 16, 2017

Happy Death Day, Goodbye Christopher Robin, The Florida Project, Lucky Reviews

Happy Death Day
Dir. Christopher B. Landon

When I think "independent cinema," the images that form in my head are typically heavy social dramas, quirky comedies, or documentaries about impoverished farmers shot in black and white that play in two theaters. But strangely enough, one of the few companies that sells independent films to mainstream, big studios is Blumhouse Productions. Run by Jason Blum, the company has become famous for turning low-budget horror flicks into big hits - like Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge, Split, and Get Out. They're pretty much the "Marvel" of horror right now, with a brand name that is starting to represent new and interesting fright flicks. Their latest, released on lucky Friday the 13th, is more or less Groundhog Day-meets-Scream, and again proves that you don't need a big budget to make a fun movie!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Blade Runner 2049, American Made, Battle of the Sexes, Victoria & Abdul Reviews

Blade Runner 2049
Dir. Denis Villeneuve
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Entering the tradition of Tron: Legacy, Independence Day: Resurgence, and even Disney's recent Star Wars reboot, Blade Runner 2049 is a sequel that comes a ridiculous amount of time after its predecessor. It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's now-classic sci-fi adaptation bombed at the box office, and it seems as though Blade Runner, unlike those aforementioned properties, has far less mainstream appeal. It's philosophical, somewhat ambiguous, slow-paced, and lacks the "whiz-bang" action modern audiences are used to getting from other futuristic flicks. Although it's no surprise to me that Blade Runner 2049 - a sequel no one was really asking for - is struggling at the box office, I do have to give director Denis Villeneuve a lot of credit for even attempting to recapture the ponderous and dream-like feelings of the original film. However, although the film partially succeeds in that regard, its overlong run-time, dull characters, and unclear stakes make for an experience that probably works better as a post-movie discussion springboard than a piece of entertainment.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

It, mother!, Stronger, Tulip Fever Reviews

Note to Readers:
Hello, my movie blog-reading friends! Thank you for your readership and support over the years - it's truly meant a lot to me and I hope to continue this hobby for years to come. However, my life has been getting busier and busier, so the frequency with which I see and review "Talkies" might be fewer and farther between than before. To say I've been occupied with other things lately is the understatement of the century, so it might take me a while to make a new posting. It's probably none of your concern, but I just wanted to let you know - you can rest assured: Talking the Talkies is still alive!

Dir. Andrés Muschietti
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The original IT novel from 1986 is a brick-sized tome that was the result of massive amounts of cocaine. While commonly hailed as one of Stephen King's greatest achievements, I think most people have no idea just how crazy it is: there's a giant floating space turtle-god, children building their own Native American hallucination-inducing "smokehole," a schoolyard bully being pleasured by his friend in an open garbage dump, and - worst of all - an 11-year-old girl participates in a pages-long orgy sequence in the sewers with six younger males. It goes without saying that to expect a straight adaptation of such an insane novel would be asking too much. Besides reading like the fever dream of a coked-out pedophile, one thing that the IT novel could not be labelled as, however, is cliched or boring. Unfortunately, in this Stranger Things-inspired 2017 adaptation, little is done with the property to make it interesting, complex, or particularly worth revisiting.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

RESULTS: Summer 2017 Box Office Predictions

At the beginning of May I participated in the annual Box Office Prediction game, wherein I tried to guess as accurately as possible this summer's top movies, from May through August (you can read my original post here). Well, now that the leaves are changing colors, it's getting to be hoodie weather, and the summer smells of suntan lotion and chlorine are starting to dissipate, it's time to look back at the 2017 season and see which movies reigned supreme at the box office and which movies completely tanked. Following are some of my overall thoughts on the results, along with my final tally. Enjoy!

Wind River, Good Time, Brigsby Bear, Ingrid Goes West Reviews

Wind River
Dir. Taylor Sheridan
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Crime thrillers are a dime a dozen nowadays, and especially with the current TV renaissance we're living through, bringing us shows like True Detective, Fargo, Hannibal, and Ozark to name a few, it's very difficult to bring the same level of depth and character development to a single 2 hour film. However, Wind River, the directorial debut of Taylor Sheridan, best known for writing Sicario and Hell or High Water (my #2 of 2016), manages to deliver the same thrills and complexity that we've been spoiled with over the past few years on the small screen. Sheridan's film succeeds in that it not only acts as a nail-biting drama, but also has a lot to say about survival, what life is like on an Indian reservation, and the toll grief takes on us. In all the right ways it's haunting, beautiful, disturbing, extremely well-acted, and in my mind one of 2017's must-see movies!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Logan Lucky, The Hitman's Bodyguard, The Glass Castle, An Inconvenient Sequel Reviews

Logan Lucky
Dir. Steven Soderbergh
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Much to the dismay of movie fans everywhere, in 2013 Steven Soderbergh announced his "retirement" from directing after his fantastic HBO Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra (my #6 pick of that year). However, we all kind of knew that phase would be short lived, and what do you know - the director of all three Ocean's Eleven flicks is back in the game with another heist flick. Only instead of the glitzy world of Vegas casinos we're traveling to the backwoods of West Virginia and "NASCAR country." So, after all the false promises of throwing in the directorial towel for good, I was expecting Logan Lucky to be something special enough to at least save Soderbergh the embarrassment of so soon saying: "I'm back!" Though I don't think this film is the earth-shattering comeback for its director that might be expected, it's still a reliably good time from one of my favorite filmmakers working today.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Detroit, The Dark Tower, Annabelle: Creation, A Ghost Story Reviews

Dir. Kathryn Bigelow
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In many ways, Detroit marks the third in a trilogy of films between director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal, starting with The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Each film examines a period of history using Bigelow's established roots as an action director to make politically charged films with a constant sense of energy, examining the power dynamics in typically scary "combat" situations where traditional rules no longer apply. She also often delves into researched details that aren't typically covered on the evening news. With Detroit, Bigelow is examining the pressure-cooker situation of the Detroit riots, a shameful and often overlooked moment in US history, and marks Bigelow's most hard-hitting (literally) and visceral film to date - made prescient by the fact that its depictions of injustice, prejudice, and police brutality seem like they've been ripped from today's headlines.

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